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Photo TR: Password's Trek to the Midwest


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Coming to the hotel after a day of SFOT and getting to read more of this great TR? Hell yeah.

 

 

I agree about Millennium and wish I had gotten a front row night ride, but had a very similar experience with a ride after and during the rain. It went from "very good" to "................ yes." As in, practically lost for words.

It was a really similar experience with us for The Beast between riding in the back during the day to front row at night. Beast went from "hmm..." To "omfg insane" while Millennium went from "good" to "top 3." It's crazy how riding a coaster at night can change the experience.

Awesome TR. My friends and I are going to next Monday to Cedar Point. Since it will be our first time and we will only be there for a day, we were going to purchase the Fastlane Plus online. But, after your report, I think we might just wait to see what the crowds at the park before we buy them! Thanks for the tip!

That's definitely a good decision to wait, even if that means just realizing it's going to be busy and getting the pass at 11. Either way, you'll have a great time!

Fantastic, thorough report! I loved reading through it & agree with just about everything you wrote. There's a pattern to your writing that suggests something that I've been talking about for a while, which is how the same coasters can give a different impression depending on so many factors. From how I'm feeling and the time of day, to what train I'm riding in or what seat, coasters can and do show different personalities.

 

- There have been whole trips where I have all OK, but never great rides on Millennium Force. At other times, it's my clear #1.

 

- On Magnum, I've had so-so rides, flat-out painful rides, and rides that were so enjoyable and smooth that I marvel how Arrow did it --- all in the same day!

 

- I've thought, "Boy, Raptor sure is getting rough," only to come back later and it's one of my favorite B&M inverts.

 

- I've had fun, glass-smooth rides on Gatekeeper, and at other times it's frustratingly bumpy with that lumbering push/pull feeling that was described in the TR.

 

The legacy feel to those night rides on Millennium Force is real & unmistakable! I usually try to knock out the other coasters during the day, do lots of TTD for big thrills when the sun's out, and then really focus on Millennium and Maverick at night. I've never seen another coaster create quite the aura that MF does near close. For the duration of the ride, every train of strangers go out together as friends. It's just remarkable.

This is an interesting point. It's still definitely the case with other rides at other parks, but I noticed that even more so this visit to Cedar Point. And Millennium Force at night really is something special--it's amazing how people get so pumped still for a ride approaching 20 years old here soon enough. It's really aged well and still incredibly popular.

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Chiming in to say that the Millennium Force hype is real. There's nothing on the planet like it, even after a full day of front row rides on TTD and some of the best fun at the park you've ever had. Night time MF will simply blow. your. mind!I agree with what Samuel wrote about how every train of strangers comes back as friends. The excitement, hands in the air, cheering, and laughter is spectacular and no other ride experience comes close. Maverick is where it's at during the daytime but Millennium Force has my loyalty all night long.

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Corkscew (1x): We rode this because it had no line and we didn't want any regrets leaving the park. Unfortunately, we now have regrets leaving the park because we rode Corkscrew. It's a piece of crap that is only operating for its historical and aesthetic value, and for that I don't think it should be removed as nothing really good could take its space but if I never ride Corkscrew again I wouldn't shed a tear.

 

The most accurate thing I have ever read about Corkscrew.

 

Nice trip report!! Thank's for sharing!

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^Yep--Corkscrew is pretty bad, and not the best way to end your day at the park. At least you can say 1) you've ridden it, and 2) you never have to ride it again.

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I had heard how awful Corkscrew is but some enthusiasts whine about everything, and especially in a park with so many world class rides we thought maybe it would be tolerable like Vortex... yeah we were wrong. Luckily it was nowhere near our last ride at the park (not even our last day there) so it didn't leave a bad impression at all but holy crap that ride is awful.

 

Thanks for the comments everyone, hoping to have day five up tomorrow.

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Day Five: Cedar Point

Friday, July 15, 2016

 

Trip Report

 

Determined not to make the same mistake as the previous day, our alarms were set for 7:30 with a secondary alarm set for 7:45. This wasn't even remotely necessary, however, because I was up and out of bed by the second obnoxious buzzing of the alarm--partially out of excitement, but mostly out of fear of falling asleep again. So, we were out of the room by 8:15 and after a quick stop at Subway for a breakfast wrap (it was actually halfway decent, though if we had more time/energy I wanted to stop at Berardi's as suggested by Philrad71) we made our way over the causeway once again. It's interesting how your perception of a place changes so much after spending more than a day or two there, as this sight, though still spectacular and striking, began to feel more "normal," more routine. This isn't a bad thing, though, as it began to feel more real in a sense, less like some fantasy place I'd only read about and seen in pictures. That probably made very little sense, but I'll discuss more in detail in my review of the park.

 

We made our way into the second row of parking spots ten minutes before early entry, we sprayed on the sunscreen and made our way to the gate. I wanted to use the Marina gate for a head start to Maverick or Millennium Force had we arrived another five minutes earlier, but the gates were already opened by the time we step foot onto the recently redone plaza, so we quickly entered and stormed through the parade of photographers.

 

We started the day with two laps on Maverick--once in the front and once in the back. Around 9:50 we started our trek back towards the front of the park to wait in line for Dragster's opening as we hadn't made up our minds about Fast Lane for the day yet so we wanted to ride the heavy hitters early. Well, wouldn't you guess it--Dragster opened late. Not so late though, as we made our way into the station and down the exit before 10:30.

 

We talked it over for a minute and decided that being our last full day and with blue skies and already heavy crowds, we would bite the bullet for Fast Lane plus. More of a Nerf gun bullet though, as even on a beautiful Friday in the middle of July the Fast Lane Plus upgrade with Platinum Passes only cost us $73 apiece. Expensive? Yes, but for a 15 hour day at Cedar Point with no line over 20 minutes, it was worth every penny.

 

From here on out, we essentially rode whatever we liked, whenever we wanted to, and only had any sort of substantial wait (~20 minutes) for Maverick, Valravn, and Dragster in the front row. Everything else was between two trains and 10 minutes--the perfect day.

 

We started the rest of the morning with the B&M's at the front of the park, continued on with Millennium Force, then back to Maverick, Dragster, Magnum, Raptor, rinse and repeat. We did Iron Dragon VR towards the end of the day around 8pm after some technical difficulties and took some short breaks throughout the day for a ride on the train (choo choo!) and some milkshakes at Coasters Drive In.

 

July 15th was the official kick off to "Cedar Point Nights," the midsummer celebration with games on the beach and, most notably, extended hours. That means a midnight closing this particular Friday, and by far the best night for coaster riding with back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back full on darkness night rides. After a sunset Maverick ride, we went Dragster front row in the dark, followed by Raptor, Valravn, and Millennium Force back-to-back, finishing in the front row. What an absolutely unforgettable night that I don't know will ever be topped--even with a painful sunburn and piercingly chapped lips that I had put off dealing with for the better part of three days now.

 

I don't know that I ever thought I'd spend 15 consecutive hours in an amusement park, let alone without running out of things to do and still being excited to be at the park and to ride the next ride. Cedar Point is a special place, and this hobby is a special thing for people like myself (and probably the majority on this board). Sure, our time at the park was coming to a close after the following morning, but this trip went better than I had ever imagined it would and was an incredible "summation" of sorts after dreaming about such a trip during my time in high school. After planning a trip for so long it can be a little nerve racking the days leading up to departure (Could I have chosen better parks or better days to visit? What if the parks suck and the trip is a dud altogether?) or immediately after getting home, not having something to look forward to. Honestly though, there isn't one regret I have from this unforgettable week. I'll reflect back on the trip a little more after the final day six update.

 

Review

 

Cedar Point is one of the most well-documented parks on the internet, especially on these boards with the constant discussion on the park's thread, so I don't think it would be worth my time to give an in-depth opinion on the park in general as the majority of that would just be an 18 year old's far less informed view than a lot of users on this site that have travelled infinitely more than myself and have ridden hundreds more coasters (I think I'm somewhere around 75 now but I haven't counted and I don't really care). So, I'll just touch on a few things I want to discuss most as well as respond to something a certain user has pointed out (that a lot of people have brushed over) that I found really interesting and wanted to think about before posting my thoughts.

 

First off, I mentioned how surreal it is to drive across the causeway the very first time, particularly for first time visitors. Especially considering how well documented the park is, it's one of those "dream" moments for a lot of enthusiasts. Something I noticed, however, is that after making that drive multiple times, particularly by the third time (Friday), the park started to seem more "real" to me. What I mean by that is it felt less like this fantasy place that you really only see in pictures online and dream about going to someday, so as when you actually visit it doesn't seem real. As a result, I could kind of mentally take the park off that "pedestal" and really appreciate the park for its collection of rides and the atmosphere they've created, as well as be more critical of the park and the coasters. So, with that said, I will say the following...

 

--Valravn isn't that good. Sure, it's fun, but I can't help but think they could've done something a little more special, a little more unique. I'll actually throw out the unpopular opinion of mine that GateKeeper is better than Valravn. It's a perfectly decent dive coaster and it's better than what was there but I'm left wanting more, though that's probably biased because of the caliber of rides elsewhere in the park.

--Parts of the park (particularly in the front half near Kiddie Kingdom/Wicked Twister and between Valravn and Millennium Force) are rather generic and could use some more shade, but that's compared to the rest of the park which is absolutely beautiful and more appealing than most large parks.

--After riding Thunderbolt, Jack Rabbit and The Beast earlier in the week, it's obvious that Cedar Point is lacking a good wood coaster. I'm not going to say that the next ride they build has to be a wood coaster, because parks don't actually care about these fictional "steel/wood coaster ratio" or anything of the sort that enthusiasts like to believe "needs" to happen to be well rounded, but Mean Streak and Blue Streak are both in the lower tier of rides at the park.

--The storage bin policy is a head scratcher for some of the rides considering how much they're pushing the all day and all season bottles. I totally understand it for Millennium Force with an unload station and *maybe* Valravn for capacity, but on GateKeeper when it's a walk-on and they have bins on the platform, you can't bring a sports bottle in line and keep it in the bins? You basically have to pay every ride (we rented five hours each time and did several rides before renewing the rental) to simply have the sports bottle that you bought from the park.

--Everything at Cedar Point seems very carefully planned and well thought out, and as a result is very well executed and visually appealing. From the layouts of rides to the aesthetics of an area (the new Valravn plaza/midway connection is very nicely done), to the presentation of a ride itself (Dragster's station design and launch visuals off-ride are a nice touch). It probably helps that they're constantly pouring money into this park.

 

I mentioned that I could take the park off the imaginary pedestal, but I should note that I'm keeping Millennium Force night rides on that pedestal. The ride during the day might be a little overhyped and Maverick and probably Fury 325 (haven't ridden yet) are better rides, but there's something amazing about Millennium Force at night that just puts itself right atop that pedestal again and is completely unmatched by anything. Yes it is corny and I'm glad coasterbill called me out on that but that ride at night is seriously my "happy place" and you can find me sipping the Millennium Kool-Aid all night long.

 

On the positive side of things, after spending parts of four days at the park (and previously frequenting nearby Six Flags parks and Kings Dominion) I'm more able to appreciate just how amazing Cedar Point's operations are. I touched on it with GateKeeper sending out 63 trains in an hour and Millennium's crew at night allowing re-rides for no apparent reason but the park as a whole is very consistent and staffs every single ride appropriately. I'm going to have a hard time dealing with the nonsense that most parks (ahem *Six Flags* ahem) try to operate with. Round of applause to Cedar Point though--I guess this park as a whole is kind of a sampler of what Cedar Fair is all about if they gave every park an ideal operating and expansion budget.

 

Speaking of operations, I won't give an in-depth analysis of any kind of Iron Dragon virtual reality mostly because it's been a two weeks now and I don't really remember each exact scene, but I would like to mention a few things. One, the beta testing of sorts they're doing is the way to go, especially with sign ups and limited hours to do it. It was executed in a very organized fashion that eliminated the obscene waits generated at Six Flags parks and the disappointment along with it by the VR not working properly most the of the time due to overuse and poor training. The story and graphics were considerably better than the Superman version at Six Flags America, though that's not to say they couldn't be improved. The choice of ride was also exactly what I thought it should be, as I otherwise wouldn't have ridden Iron Dragon more than once over the four days. The operations were infinitely better than Six Flags even with what seemed like intentionally reduced efficiency as the attendants spent additional time talking to each rider about how to orient the device and to not touch their restraint until they're ready. All said and done we're talking about five minute unload/load time, a far cry from SFA's frequent 15 minute dispatches (and occasional 21 minute) on their most popular ride, an Intamin mega coaster.

 

The last point I would like to discuss is something I had mentioned earlier about prozach626's view of Cedar Point's collection. Something he's mentioned a few times (and feel free to chime in here/correct me on this, prozach) is that because Cedar Point has probably eight or nine rides that most parks would feature prominently in their top three, it's overwhelming to have all of them in one park and they take away from the significance of each other. As a result, it's hard to focus all your time and energy on one ride and appreciate it for what it is when there's always another right nearby--especially rides like Millennium Force and Maverick. I hinted at a similar feeling in my review of Rougarou when I mentioned that I thought it was a solid ride, though it didn't have a sizeable line the entire week and would probably be more appreciated at other parks without so many headliners.

 

To an extent, I agree. Rougarou, and other similar rides (in terms of major attractions that would be a selling point at most parks but are just kind of "there" at Cedar Point) like Raptor, Wicked Twister, Magnum and even GateKeeper would be more successful at other parks. If they were at other parks, I would probably spend more time riding and re-riding them, and I could focus on these rides without being distracted by a dozen other rides I want to ride just as much, if not more, and probably form a more favorable opinion of them. If GateKeeper were at Kings Dominion I would probably spend most of my day riding it and Intimidator 305, with a few stops at Dominator and Volcano.

 

A perfect example for this argument is Kennywood. That park only has six coasters, but with only a little over half a day to spend there I felt like with any more top notch rides it could've taken away from the positive experience I had as instead of riding Phantom's Revenge or Thunderbolt for a second time I would've been off waiting in line for some other coaster.

 

However, there's another side to this argument that I think is worth presenting. Cedar Point proudly touts themselves as the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," yes? At most parks (especially my first visit), after riding the headliners I'll give the "supporting coasters" a ride, maybe two if they're better than I expected, then I'll make my way back to my favorite two or three rides until it's time to leave. What Cedar Point's arguably excessive lineup of "headlining" coasters has done is taken away the often times mediocre or even straight up crappy experience I would've had riding the supporting coasters, and replaced them with rides that are *just* not quite as impressive as the headliners. So, if it's your first time at Great Adventure, you might ride Green Lantern once just to see how it compares before moving on with your day. At Cedar Point, even if you do end up only riding their coaster that takes the same role as Green Lantern--say Rougarou--it's a hell of a lot more fun than you'll have on a ride like Green Lantern. Sure, you might feel like you want to ride it again but you'd still rather ride Millennium Force just across the midway, but Cedar Point has that rare status in that the "average" ride at the park is of a much higher caliber than it is at most parks, so you've essentially replaced all those inevitable "meh" coasters with well above average rides, some that might even be better than any ride at another major park.

 

To support this argument, take the other park from this particular trip--Kings Island. After initially riding Banshee, Diamondback and The Beast at night, we rode almost every other "supporting" coaster (except Flight of Fear since we've ridden it at Kings Dominion and it had a long line) once, then found ourselves riding Diamondback and Banshee pretty much the rest of the day, because none of the other rides were really worth riding more than once, twice tops. The problem with this is that given the low attendance on that particular Tuesday, we rode those enough times to understand what they were about and ended up chilling in our hotel for an hour or two; not because we were tired, but honestly a little bored waiting for the sun to set before riding The Beast again. If Kings Island had another stand out ride or two (hopefully Mystic Timbers will help out with this) on the same caliber of Banshee or Diamondback we wouldn't have had this issue. Not saying they need five more B&M's or Intamin's like Cedar Point, but just another top tier ride to keep us occupied for a full day (since we're not into shows or waterparks). Then again, maybe it is unrealistic to expect to be occupied for a full day with short lines and Cedar Point (and maybe Great Adventure) is the exception to the rule. I could be way off base with this.

 

In the end, I thought it was interesting point that prozach626 that really nobody else has talked about. To be honest, I'm not really sure which side I fall on because I had an incredible time at Cedar Point for the better part of four days with tons of top tier rides, but I also had just as much fun in just seven hours at Kennywood with only six coasters, re-riding four of them. I think it depends on the specific park and what they're going for, and those two parks are obviously going for entirely different experiences. Kings Island landed somewhere in the middle in that discussion, but I think we went in expecting an experience more similar to Cedar Point than we should have. Or maybe Kennywood's rides are just way too high quality for their own good. Either way.

 

Attractions

 

My reviews of all the attractions we experienced at Cedar Point can be found on page five. No need to rehash what I already went over, so I'll just leave some daily totals for Friday, July 15, 2016. Some of these are my best estimate because I didn't keep exact track.

 

GateKeeper - 4x

Valravn - 3x

Raptor - 4x

Rougarou - 2x

Wicked Twister - 1x

Millennium Force - 5x

Top Thrill Dragster - 3x

Maverick - 4x

Magnum XL-200 - 1x

Iron Dragon (Virtual Reality) - 1x

Blue Streak - 1x

Skyhawk - 1x

Train - 1x

Sky Ride - 2x

White Water Canyon - 1x

Cadillac Cars - 1x

 

Now that I've ridden each coaster enough times to properly compare, here's how I would rank Cedar Point's lineup, based on my typical experience...

 

0) Millennium Force at night

1) Maverick

2) Millennium Force

3) Raptor

4) GateKeeper

5) Dragster

6) Valravn

7) Rougarou

8) Magnum

9) Wicked Twister

10) Blue Streak

11) Gemini

12) Mean Streak

13) Iron Dragon

14) Cedar Creek Mine Ride

 

--Big drop off here--

 

15) Corkscrew

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Bright and (this time) early at Cedar Point--what else would you rather see at 9am than this?

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Valravn is so enticing to try to ride first thing, but that's what everyone does and the average person in America is rather stupid

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Avoiding the photographers almost as fiercely as Corkscrew

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Continuing on the half-marathon walk back to Maverick from the front gate

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This is one of my personal favorite angles of Millennium. I feel like they actually sat down with a map and a pencil for a good while thinking about this ride, unlike another Intamin mega coaster built that year... (hint: Not SFNE)

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And finally, could it be?

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The Frontier Trail is my favorite section of the park, and it's very strange being there with almost nobody around.

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I'm impressed this hasn't been vandalized in 13 years. This wouldn't last at Great Adventure.

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Taken from GateKeeper's steps, this was one of the "OMG we're actually here" moments for me. This really looks like an advertisement for the park, for some reason. One of my favorite shots taken on my crappy iPhone camera.

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To prozach's point, GateKeeper seems underappreciated by Cedar Point guests, though the capacity is ridiculous with this crew so it could just be that.

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Random Raptor shot because Raptor is cool

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Valravn *looks* really good

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Windseeker, down for wind. It's like not being able to drive a Tesla because gas is too expensive--what?

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Valravn had a pretty substantial line built up most of the day, probably around 2 hours at this point. We rarely purchase any sort of line skipping pass so it was really a luxury today that we took advantage of, evident in our ride totals.

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Yes, I'm a badass and I took this in the back seat of the Cadillac Cars. If a moderator wants me to take it down I'm more than happy to.

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Same as above, though this time of a superior ride.

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Even though this cobra roll isn't my favorite element on the ride (the opposite actually), it looks nice and I like that it's displayed now instead of tucked away.

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Artsy? Or just a bad picture?

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Hey, why not?

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Queuing up for MilF!

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I don't know if you can read it but here's the story and our return time which we missed because the ride was down for non-VR reasons at that point, but we were kindly allowed to ride later.

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Now photography *is* allowed from the train, so enjoy some Millennium Force!

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Cedar Point is such a nice location

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I cropped this to have as the latest wallpaper on my phone--minus the bars and elbow.

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That's one of my favorite elements on one of my favorite coasters. You guessed it--the lift hill.

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I hate when crappy, ugly rides try to photobomb beautiful craftsmanship and woodwork at its finest

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Yet another shot of Sandusky Bay

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I'm actually not sure whether I prefer this or MaxAir--though Black Widow is far better than either

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We took a quick peek at the glassblowing theater

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A signature shot of Millennium Force. It's just such a commanding ride.

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We didn't ride Mean Streak today, but it looks really nice and it's not terrible in the front row.

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I thought this was a nice shot that most people don't see unless they visit--exiting Valravn.

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This Immelmann is truly massive, but it looks more interesting than it rides.

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As expected, Raptor's queue died down in the evening.

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And back to GateKeeper and Wicked Twister for another ride

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Before sunset, this is what Millennium's station looked like.

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Fast forward a couple hours, after riding Maverick we made our way through the Gemini midway which looks much nicer than this terrible picture makes it out to be.

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Dragster's tower is nicely illuminated at night, much more so than Kingda Ka

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Waiting for our Dragster train, getting "Ready to Go" (can you tell I love that station music?)

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Last ride on what might be the best ride in the world at night.

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Truly spectacular and breathtaking. The future is *still* riding on it. Thanks for yet another unforgettable day, Cedar Point--until tomorrow.

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I forgot to take a shot of Raptor before our night ride (too busy just having fun), but I grabbed this shot of Valravn's lift and plaza.

Edited by Password121
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Have you made it to the Midwest yet or are you still in Ohio?

I heard they're expanding the Midwest to include West Virginia, actually!

 

That's old news. They added WV to the Big12 a long time ago. (Skipped right over Ohio and Indiana)

 

Hey now, there's a good chance Cincinnati will be added to the Big 12 in this next expansion!

 

Great TR, Password! As you obviously know, you picked three great parks to visit. I really love all of these parks for very different reasons.

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I'm a huge fan of this station, gets you pumped (sorry no MF night pics this day)

 

Don't you mean it gets you ready to go?

 

Sorry.

 

Great TR, thanks for sharing!

How'd you know?

 

Thanks for reading!

Have you made it to the Midwest yet or are you still in Ohio?

I heard they're expanding the Midwest to include West Virginia, actually!

 

That's old news. They added WV to the Big12 a long time ago. (Skipped right over Ohio and Indiana)

 

Hey now, there's a good chance Cincinnati will be added to the Big 12 in this next expansion!

 

Great TR, Password! As you obviously know, you picked three great parks to visit. I really love all of these parks for very different reasons.

With you on that. I was really impressed with each of these parks and they're some of the only parks I had a very hard time finding anything I really didn't like about them. I'd totally re-visit any of them in a heartbeat.

 

Thanks for checking it out!

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Day Six: Cedar Point/Departure

Saturday, July 16, 2016

 

Trip Report

 

After being completely exhausted and spending a combined 27 hours in the park the last two days alone, we very easily could've slept in a little and left after rush hour, if that's even a thing in Sandusky (we're used to Washington DC parking lot highways at these times). We had ridden everything we wanted to about twice as much as we had expected to, but just as had been the case with Kings Island earlier in the week, we couldn't just leave Cedar Point with early entry looming ahead of us and the potential for more rides on some of the best rides in the world, right?

 

Over the causeway one last time and parked in our spot by 8:40, we made our way over towards Blue Streak for the Marina gate and joined the other 30 people or so with the same idea. We hopped in the shorter line but ended up being help up by a family that managed to cause some major confusion with their tickets, although they were first in line, and held everyone up another 5 minutes just for them. We continued on in the park and made a quick stop at Millennium first thing, making us one of the last riders the previous day and the second train the following morning. As expected, it was a bit sluggish in the morning (and especially compared to the euphoric night rides just hours before) but a sluggish morning ride on Millennium Force is still better than almost any ride in the world running its best.

 

Knowing that crowds would likely get really heavy really fast, we scurried over to Maverick hoping to grab two quick rides before the line began to form at all. It seemed like that was about to happen as we were next in line for the last row when the restraints wouldn't lock on a larger rider and after resetting and trying again the train wouldn't enable (we had a close view of the back panel and overheard the attendant). They eventually called over the maintenance guys who seemed to do a whole lot of scratching their heads and walking on the pre-lift catwalk (this made me laugh as I remember seeing maintenance bang a mallet against Millennium's transfer to fix that a few years ago). Eventually, they sent several cycles and we were back on after a good 45 minute delay, and after riding Maverick around 10 times through the week we really didn't mind missing out one last ride.

 

On our way back towards the front, we decided to check Millennium's line just in case, and to out surprise it was only around 10 minutes (Maverick was around 30 after we exited). Just as fantastic as always during the day, and it was fitting to end such an incredible week with such an incredible ride like Millennium Force. There's no other way I'd rather say goodbye to Cedar Point.

 

We took the Sky Ride up to the front (getting a nice look at the park one last time and saving our feet) and checked out GateKeeper after the stellar rides we had the day before, but weren't really in the mood for its 20 minute queue and figured ending on Millennium was the way to go, so we grabbed Subway on the dining plan on the way out, snapped one last picture of GateKeeper flying over the gates one last time, and began the 6.5 hour drive back to our stomping grounds.

 

What an amazing week. It was bittersweet to leave, but this was the most fun I've had riding coasters in my life and I wouldn't have planned it anyway else.

 

Attractions

 

Maverick - 1x

Millennium Force - 2x

Sky Ride - 1x

 

Final Thoughts/Conclusion

 

I jumped at the opportunity to plan a major (well, compared to what I've done previously which doesn't extend beyond Great Adventure really) trip like this when I realized it was both feasible with the time available being off from school and enjoyable with someone that is not only fairly into coasters, but is up to visit parks for a week straight up to 15 hours a day, along with driving hundreds of miles to do it. There's not whole lot of people that don't post on enthusiast forums that are up for that, so I really appreciate knowing someone like that (very rarely would I roll alone, especially not more than a day).

 

I don't know when the next time I'll be able to do such a major trip with the commitments ahead studying engineering during the year and real adult life/responsibilities with summer jobs and life beyond that, but I'm enormously glad I did this when I could (I'm in the very early stages of considering working at Cedar Point next summer--we'll see).

 

That said, I would strongly, strongly encourage anyone that hasn't done a more extended trip that has the capacity to do so to jump right ahead and do it. It was fantastic to visit three of the better/best parks in the country, but there's an additional aspect of adventure and being somewhere new that you experience by doing these trips. We got to jam to some really obnoxious early 2000's music that we grew up with and had far too much fun doing so, had plenty of time for some great conversation and cracking plenty of jokes along the way (the Midwest is a strange place and Kennywood's a beautiful drive), and reminisced about some shared experiences along the way before heading out to different schools. Whether it's with your wife/husband or just a friend, doing a road trip to amusement parks combines some of the best things about summer and life all in one, and I'd seriously recommend pulling the strings to make it happen. It's worth it.

 

I already went into some detailed opinions about each park, so I'll just recount my final thoughts about each before signing off.

 

Kennywood

Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the trip. The collection of rides, as has been pointed out, is not expansive but ounce for ounce one of the best in the country. Phantom's Revenge was the best hypercoaster we rode on the trip (including Diamondback and Magnum, two of the higher regarded rides out there) and I think a night ride would seriously rival Millennium Force. Sky Rocket was a huge surprise with awkward trains but unexpected ejector air. Racer was decent, but Jack Rabbit had my favorite single moment on any coaster, ever. Yes, ahead of El Toro's drop and RT crossover, ahead of Maverick's airtime hill. And Thunderbolt is the star of the wood coasters here with crazy "holy sh*t" laterals and two or three ridiculous moments of sustained, physically out of your seat airtime. My only regret from Kennywood is not spending a full day here, because this park alone is worth not only going out of your way for but an entire trip in and of itself. The Kennywood hype is real, and this isn't coming from some nostalgic old Pittsburgh dude that refuses to go anywhere else.

 

Kings Island

There's a lot of things I like about this park when comparing to Kings Dominion. Even just pulling into the lot and plaza, even though it's not modern and beautiful like Cedar Point or classic and nostalgic like Kennywood, feels a lot grander than Kings Dominion. The park itself isn't quite as immaculate as Cedar Point in terms of appearance (not dirty at all, just not modernized/upgraded) especially in parts of Action Zone which feels very 90's and unshaded, though I understand part of the park's appeal is not being too "in your face" which I can really appreciate. I don't hate Six Flags parks like many seem to but the negative aspects of Kings Island's appearance and display is on par with Six Flags parks' best appearance, so take this with a grain of salt. I do love all the clean lines and the casual atmosphere compared to Cedar Point in places like Rivertown.

 

I wasn't blown away by Kings Island's lineup in any way, but the three standouts were really solid and worth re-riding, with The Beast after dark being among the best rides in the world. We both thought they could've used another really good ride to keep us occupied (and I'm sure Mystic Timbers will help a little) but there's nothing on the level of Maverick or Millennium Force during the daytime at Kings Island that warrants writing home about. That's not a bad thing though as not all parks can have that, and I loved Kings Island as we experienced it and I'd gladly come back again, though I don't know that I'd make a separate trip for it before something groundbreaking is done. If it's not too much out of the way though on a trip like this it was a perfect add-on.

 

Cedar Point

I wasn't absolutely mesmerized by the park like I was in years past before I really became an enthusiast, but I could appreciate more how incredible this park is, despite how corporate feeling the front half lends itself to be. If Mean Streak does turn out to be a Rocky Mountain project I don't think there's any valid argument against this being the best collection of rides in the world. Cedar Point's "average" ride, which after listing out my favorites seems to be around Rougarou/Magnum, would be in pretty much any other park's big three which is remarkable.

 

As I've said, the park itself is really beautiful and inviting and has a great location. I wish we would've taken some time out of one of the days to explore a little around the park and maybe stop by the beach for a little while, but with a collection like this and the short lines we experienced most of the week it wouldn't be the best use of our time.

 

I want to get back here for Maverick, Millennium Force night rides, and whatever ends up happening with Mean Streak, but until that happens I'll remember the unforgettable time I had and blissful midnight rides on some of the best coasters in the world. Cedar Point is a special place that still has that "magic" you feel when going to a park when you were really young that just made everything seem so amazing.

 

Enjoy the last few pictures, and thanks for checking out the last chapter of Trevor and Matt's trek to the Midwest.

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Pulling into the lot for the last time

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This sight is a bit different approaching the Marina gate from two years ago

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One last trek down to two of the best Intamin machines ever built

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Cedar Point is a breathtakingly beautiful park

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That was one hell of a trip; thank you, Cedar Point, for an unforgettable week

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You have great insight and a very well-written series of reports to go along with good pictures. I've been marinating in enjoyment at your travels since the first page of this thread!

 

 

Kings Island

There's a lot of things I like about this park when comparing to Kings Dominion. Even just pulling into the lot and plaza, even though it's not modern and beautiful like Cedar Point or classic and nostalgic like Kennywood, feels a lot grander than Kings Dominion. The park itself isn't quite as immaculate as Cedar Point in terms of appearance (not dirty at all, just not modernized/upgraded) especially in parts of Action Zone which feels very 90's and unshaded, though I understand part of the park's appeal is not being too "in your face" which I can really appreciate. I don't hate Six Flags parks like many seem to but the negative aspects of Kings Island's appearance and display is on par with Six Flags parks' best appearance, so take this with a grain of salt. I do love all the clean lines and the casual atmosphere compared to Cedar Point in places like Rivertown.

 

Well said all-around! I like KI very much, but that Action Zone always felt like a weird 2000-era Paramount sea of concrete, the E.T. Zone is an odd cul-de-sac, and the Racer midway looks exactly as it did in 1972. Nowhere there is a particular complaint, but it's a strange convergence of different atmospheres on that left side of KI.

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You have great insight and a very well-written series of reports to go along with good pictures. I've been marinating in enjoyment at your travels since the first page of this thread!

Awesome, I'm glad you've enjoyed it! As I said this was my first raw attempt at a trip report and I considered just enjoying the parks and taking a picture here or there when I felt like it, but being my first larger trip I wanted something to remember the details by, so I'm glad you liked it.

Well said all-around! I like KI very much, but that Action Zone always felt like a weird 2000-era Paramount sea of concrete, the E.T. Zone is an odd cul-de-sac, and the Racer midway looks exactly as it did in 1972. Nowhere there is a particular complaint, but it's a strange convergence of different atmospheres on that left side of KI.

I think this a common issue a lot of larger parks face that have different ownership teams over the years. Action Zone and Coney Mall aren't particularly ugly all things considered (I wouldn't recommend venturing beyond Wild One over at SFA), but they don't have the unique character or modern feel of some of the more recently upgraded sections of the park.

Nice to see you ended your Cedar Point trip on such an amazing attraction. I'd go back for one last ride on Sky Ride too.

We were laughing about that as we got on the Sky Ride the last time realizing it was probably our last ride of the trip. He doesn't post here but he's lurked from time to time and said to me "coasterbill is savage I love it" so I thought you'd appreciate that. Thanks for checking back in, hope you enjoyed it.

Totally awesome report. Was really looking forward to it and it delivered. Fantastic photos and so well written.

Coming from you especially, that's high praise. It really was your advice that pushed me towards Kennywood, and that ended up being one our favorite experiences on the trip that we kept talking about through the week, so thank you.

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